Jazz Music

McKinney's Cotton Pickers - Baby, Won't You Please Come Home (1930)

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"Baby, Won't You Please Come Home"
McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Don Redman, arranger and director. Vocal by George Thomas
Recorded July 28, 1930

Don Redman - alto sax and vibraphone
George Thomas - vocal and Alto sax
Prince Robinson - tenor sax and clarinet
Edward Cuffee - trombone
Todd Rhodes - piano
Dave Wilbourn - banjo
Billy Taylor - tuba
Cuba Austin -drums
Langston Curl, Joe Smith, John Nesbitt - trumpets

Although McKinney's Cotton Pickers is properly regarded as a midwest band, its growth was traceable to a number of sources. In 1924, which was about the time Don Redman joined Flecher Henderson's Orchestra in New York, McKinney's was a band that depended only partly on musicianship. Taking its name from William McKinney, a former circus drummer, it went in for vaudeville, for comic effects and musical tomfoolery. This was not unusual for bands of the time. That jazz had to be "sold" was still a widely held opinion.

But jazz was already on its way and McKinney's was destined to become one of the important bands on the 1920's, linking the early jazz of bands that worked usually without orchestrations and with very simple instrumentation, to those that came later-- the name bands of the Thirties in which an instrumentation of seven brass, four reed and four rhythm instruments was generally the minimum.

Don Redman was the moving spirit of McKinney's Cotton Pickers. It was while he was musical director of the group, between 1928 and 1931, that it became famous --- and through records, was to become increasingly so --- for its pioneering in the field of arranged jazz. Meanwhile the band was not devoid of talent; if so, it would hardly have been worth Redman's while to join up.. William McKinney did not play with the band during its most famous period, but helped manage it and the name stuck. (Not to be confused with the White band known simply as "The Cotton Pickers", which grew out of The Memphis Five.")

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